Ogunmakinju breaks 52 seconds for the first time in eight years

Omolara Ogunmakinju looks determined to make up for lost time and qualify for her third Olympics, and first in eight years, at the age of 30 after storming to a huge 51.90 personal season’s best early Saturday morning at the John McDonell Invitational in Fayeteville, Arkansas.

The Nigerian 2024 African Games heroine has not broken 52 seconds in the 400m event since 2016 when she ran inside it twice at the Nigerian championships in Sapele, Delta state and came to Arkansas with 52.77 season’s best.

Ogunmakinju has now raised hopes of breaking 51 seconds for the first time in her career and probably do just enough to hit the 50.95 qualification mark for the Games in Paris this summer.

The Nigerian’s remarkable comeback bid was almost derailed after athletics officials failed to include her in the testing pool for doping. This ensured she was not on the plane to Budapest, Hungary for the World Athletics Championships after helping the women’s 4x400m relay team to secure a lane at the Championships.

She made her debut at the Olympics in 2012, running all the way to the semifinals in the 400m and helped the 4x400m relay team qualify for the final albeit the team was eventually disqualified for lane infringement. She made an instant return four years later in Brazil, exiting in the first round.

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